Rams' defense ready for another tough test

Sunday, November 5, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- A week after LaDainian Tomlinson steamrolled the St. Louis Rams, along comes Larry Johnson to administer more punishment.

Johnson, the Kansas City Chiefs' 230-pound feature back, likely is licking his chops. He had 155 yards on a franchise-record 39 carries and caught two passes for a total of 41 touches last week against the Seahawks, yet claimed no soreness the next day.

Johnson leads the NFL with 973 yards from scrimmage. He's generally considered the second-best running back in the AFC, trailing only Tomlinson.

"I think he's more physical," Rams defensive end Leonard Little said. "He's a bigger guy and he's more patient. He's hard to bring down."

Hard to silence, too. Johnson said his college experience at Penn State prepared him for success.

"We're not quick, slashing-type guys who need to run out of bounds, that's not how my body was conditioned," Johnson said. "My body is conditioned to take hits and take blows, so when people say 'Are you sore~' I'm not really sore."

The shiftier Tomlinson gouged the Rams (4-3) for 183 yards on 25 carries last week, an average of 7.3 yards. It was another distressing sign for the St. Louis defense, which has allowed 30 or more points in three of the last four games after a strong start to the season.

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